Man putting on store opening soon sign. concept: Planning for Business Reopening
Jordan Schneir
By: jordan_shneir
Read in 12 minutes

Planning for Business Reopening — Help for small business owners

As officials across the country navigate reopening their cities and states, you must ensure that you are prepared once things start to go “back to normal.” 

That being said, there will be a new normal which we’ll all need to face head-on. You must start planning for business reopening as soon as possible.

In this post, we’re going to provide a list of essentials to consider before your staff returns and customers walk through the door. Staying up-to-date on procedures and “best practices” positions you to focus on your business instead of the red tape. 

Reopening the economy 

We need to look at how the Government plans to reopen the economy. At the moment, there’s a disparity between geographies and amongst states. 

An excellent test case is California. Governor Gavin Newsom has managed to maintain bi-partisan support across the country for his policies and general approach. California saw a noteworthy decline in exposure

With so many densely populated locals, the state stands as a model for the rest of the nation. 

The New York Times recently covered that the Governor laid out a six-point plan for reopening the state. This includes continuing PPE funding, expanding testing, and protecting the most vulnerable. 

Business practices need to adjust to the new reality of living with COVID for some time. Mr. Newsom said he was unable to provide an exact timeline as to when businesses could reopen. In that same NYT piece, he was quoted as stating, “There’s no light switch here. It’s more like a dimmer.” Going back to work won’t be overnight, and the hope is that the transition is thoughtful and safe. 

That being said, the Government has detailed a 3-phase plan to start reopening the country and the economy. The document also gives recommendations as to hoy businesses, and individuals should take care of themselves and others.

These guidelines will be vital when you start planning for business reopening and the future of your company.

As the document explains, the opening of your State or County will be decided by your Governor: not all states and counties will open at the same time. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start planning for business reopening.

How to Hit the Ground Running as Business Resumes: 7 tips

You’re probably thinking—what should you do in the meantime to ensure that your business complies with the new standards going forward? Will this affect your business in ways you’ve not yet considered? 

Don’t worry; we’ve put the best ideas together to help you start planning for business reopening. 

1. Consider all the ways the work environment will evolve

A recent Wall Street Journal article outlined the ways the work-space is going to change after reopening. It’s essential to plan for factors that cause your business stress going forward. Increased governmental guidelines, nervous employees staying away, and as well as consideration for your customers’ changing wants and needs.

You also need to consider that things won’t go back to normal straight away—some things might change permanently too. 

  • People might still wear facemasks for what remains of the year, and so will employees in many, if not most, businesses. 
  • Restaurants might start to use disposable menus. 
  • Cleaning and sanitizing processes will become more strict.

Depending on your type of industry, there will be some measures you will have to take.

2. Think about how to make your storefront or office space comfortable and welcoming while also adhering to social distancing measures

One of the most challenging things for people during this lockdown has been the shopping experience. Seeing others in masks and signs to “keep 6-feet apart” really made it feel especially scary. 

Although these seem daunting, there’s no reason a business cannot implement reasonable changes to adhere to the new policies and look great.

For example:

  • For an office waiting room, don’t just space the chairs apart, but find ways to beautify the space in between. Organize the furniture and decor in such a way that people feel comfortable and at ease. 
  • Instead of painter’s tape on the floor at the checkout line to space customers, consider something more permanent and even decorative. 
  • Also, take a look at the signs you have up and make sure that the language isn’t panic-inducing. 

Some of these may sound silly, but making your customers feel welcome, these little things will go a long way. Start planning for business reopening by thinking of your clients.

3. Sanitize regularly and make cleanliness a central aspect of day to day operations

Of course, everyone knows that expectations have changed as far as cleanliness; it’s commonplace for hand sanitizer to be within reach of every customer. But planning for business reopening it more than just cleaning. 

Businesses will have to spend more money on janitorial services, and many will have to devote extra time to deep clean regularly. 

Inevitably, government standards will only become more strict. Being ahead of the regulation will not only be good for the health of your customers but create a selling point to show them you take it seriously. 

4. Review your supply chain

Don’t assume it will be business as usual for your suppliers. Hopefully, you communicated with them and are working to deepen your rapport with them. Even so, there will be unexpected bumps in the road for the foreseeable future. 

Cultivate other relationships so that you’re not left behind if a supplier is unable to fulfill orders. Suppliers as well need to be working harder than ever in obtaining new clients, the opportunity will be there to fill in the gaps left by your competitors. 

5. Be prepared to work hard to win your employees back

The best owners know that having good people will make or break a business. 

There will be a fear coming back to work. If you’ve not been in a position to pay your employees, it’s essential to do all you can to ensure they know that they are valued at your company. Many owners went out of their way to ask that customers tip generously even in carry out situations. Some even committed to creating a fund to pay servers out of the bottom line. 

These are the situations where employees will be not just eager but also proud to come back to work. 

The perceived risk of returning to work and potentially being exposed to the virus may make it difficult for some to want to jump back in. Consider offering a “coming back to work bonus” contingent on a timetable. 

The employee commits to working for a set period, or they will be required to pay the incentive back. This will help ensure loyalty, so you’re not scrambling to staff once operations are supposed to resume. Many will be eager for the extra cash right off the bat. You’ll be helping to take some of the pressure and stress off of your employees. 

6. Review your business model top to bottom

This is the hardest part. You’ve worked hard, you’ve built a brand over the years, and it feels like you just want to go back to business as usual. Commerce will resume, but you’ll need to be as nimble and prepared as ever. 

Don’t leave any stone unturned as you consider what may need to change in the new normal. This can be an emotional, previous ways of doing things may simply not work. 

This could also apply to your particular type of service you offer. A local barber or manicurist may not have space for as many clients to distance themselves safely. A massage therapist or workout center will face an uphill battle in winning customers back. 

7. Look for additional financial resources beyond what the Federal and State Government are providing

Many local municipalities are doing their best to float funds to small businesses. They want to ensure they remain in operation above and beyond other government initiatives. Make sure to research what supplemental options may be out there for you. 

Cash flow issues will likely come up regardless of how well you are prepared. At Camino Financial, we are ready to help you with your financial needs. 

planning for business reopening, infographic, Camino financial

(Re)Starting Strong

One final point to consider:

Stay positive. 

We’re finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and it seems like all this sacrifice is paying off. 

People are taking notice of the businesses that are diligently serving communities, even now. Local restaurants are providing food free of charge to healthcare workers. Individuals are making an effort to tip their delivery drivers well. Neighbors are picking up groceries for the lady stuck at home across the street. 

Because of all of these great stories, we are certainly optimistic about the future of business. 

There are still more challenges to come, and you need to be prepared to continue to make tough decisions. At Camino Financial, we’ve been working tirelessly to ensure that help is readily available for small business owners throughout this crisis. 

That’s why we’ve put together thoughtful articles that should act as a roadmap during these unprecedented times. These are the steps you should have when planning for business reopening. But don’t worry if you’re still working through them. We are here to help ensure that no business is left behind:

COVID-19: Small Business Resources, coronavirus, Camino financial

COVID-19: Small Business Resources

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